Exclusive: Council care home Deaths in April Were Five Times Higher than Same Month in 2019

The number of people who died in care homes run by Hampshire County Council in April at the height of the Coronavirus pandemic was more than five times higher than the same time last year.

Figures released in response to a Freedom of Information Request by the Meon Valley Times, reveal that 139 people died in April 2020, compared to 25 in April 2019.

March saw 31 deaths compared to 20 in March 2019 and in May there were 36 deaths compared to 28 in the same month last year.

Overall figures for deaths in Hampshire County Council run care homes for March, April and May, saw 206 deaths, which was more than double the figure of 73 for the same period last year.

Between February 28th and June 12th a total of 1,672 people died in all care homes across the county, according to official statistics. Of these,  449 had Covid-19 recorded as the cause of death.

Hampshire County Council’s response to our request for the figures was more than a month late while it decided whether it would withhold the details under a clause in the Freedom of Information Act that our request for information was “prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs.”

While it provided the headline figures it has however refused to provide details of deaths at individual Council-run care homes.

It said: “Disclosure would be likely to direct attention at individual care homes who continue to deal with the extreme circumstances they have found themselves in during recent months and need to be able to focus on managing the disruption caused by the pandemic and planning for the future care of residents in the event of any future changes.

“The information requested would also be likely to prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs by affecting the Council’s response to the coronavirus which is still ongoing and may need to continue for some months to come.”